UFCW Local 5 recently persuaded the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) that Safeway and Macy’s violated the National Labor Relations Act when the companies pressured members to agree to sign promissory notes or agreements for the repayment of amounts the members supposedly misappropriated without the union’s involvement or consent.
The NLRB found that by doing so the companies unlawfully dealt directly with members. In these cases, the company convinced members to sign agreements to repay amounts that were much larger than the theft the company could prove based on the company’s speculation that the member had engaged in theft for a long time. Members signed the agreements under a fear that the company would otherwise report them to police. In both cases, the company settled by agreeing to stop this practice and to involve the union in any similar communications with members in the future.
“One might think that large, sophisticated companies like Safeway and Macy’s would understand that this practice is wrong, but that is clearly not the case,” said UFCW Local 5 President John Nunes. “This is a great example of the importance of union representation during disciplinary interviews.”
For more information about the NLRB decision, contact George Wiszynski at the UFCW International’s Legal Department at firstname.lastname@example.org.